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Fully insured if you prang your car in icy/snow conditions?

barrybridgesbarrybridges Posts: 420
edited January 2013 in The bottom bracket
Have been thinking about this over the weekend.

On Friday, thick heavy snow, went for a nice walk with family.

On a short walk (30 minutes), we saw at least 10 cars that had skidded on the ice, with various degrees of damage. Some had scrapes, but one was v.badly smashed up. None of them were fast accidents, just basic skidding when driving in residential areas (slopes).

Went for a walk yesterday - more snow - and again saw around 5 - 10 cars whose owners had tried driving and had pranged it.

Now I'm not particularly risk-averse, but it does really annoy me when people seem to think they are much better drivers than the conditions. It's thick snow and ice here and there is no way I'd drive at all. But some people are obviously much superior*.

Which made me think:

If it's really icy/snowy and you drive your car and crash it by skidding, are you covered by your insurance?

The answer - obviously - is yes, but my real question I suppose is: why?

If the conditions are dangerous - and statistics will surely back me up when I claim that it's more dangerous to drive in snow/ice than in normal conditions - why should other drivers have to pay (via increased premiums) for other drives who somehow think they are capable of driving in conditions which are beyond them?

Surely if you choose to drive in icy/snow/dangerous conditions - and you have an accident - there should be some concept of contributory negligence?

Around here, the roads are really bad. Icy, snow, horrible. There's no way I'd try driving - and I don't see why people need to. Sure, by all means clear the driveway, but why not just wrap up warm and enjoy a snow-day in, or go for a walk? Why do people feel they need to defy the conditions and drive everywhere? More importantly, why should I pay for them when they prang their car as a result?

*I get that some people are self-employed and have to get to work, but most of the prangs we saw were just people at home who thought they'd try driving, who weren't self-employed.
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  • alihisgreatalihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    Its more dangerous to drive when its raining too... presumably its more dangerous to drive when its dark?

    and the economy already slows when we have snow.. it would be even worse if people didn't drive in the snow to get to work
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,313
    So unless people are self-employed they don't need to get to work? FFS no wonder the economy is screwed if people take that attitude. If anyone is to blame it is the Council's who fail to keep the roads clear and there's nothing stopping residents clearing 'their' patch on residential streets.
  • That's not what I was saying.

    In fact, I specifically said that I understand people might need to get to work.

    However, of the prangs I saw - and those still attending to their cars - none of them appeared to be people 'going to work'.

    You're being facetious - clearly there are limits to safety. But if it's icy and covered and snow then clearly that's a completely different situation to it being dark or raining.

    Driving in rain is not dangerous. In ice, it is.

    I get that people need to get places, but if it's sufficiently icy and snowy that driving is hazardous, isn't it up to the common sense of people to say to their employers that they are unable to make it into work as it's not safe to drive? Rather than try to drive and prang their car?

    The fact I saw 15 - 20 cars smashed up within a space of an hour's walk - compared to a typical hour where I don't recall ever seeing a pranged car - clearly illustrates that the conditions weren't safe to drive in.
  • Going back to my original question - if you crash your car when driving in dangerous driving conditions - where an organisation like the Met Office issues a weather warning and the Highways Agency says 'don't drive if don't need to' - are you fully insured? Or does it affect your liability/fault in some other way?

    If I drove at night without my lights on and had a crash, I'd probably be found to have contributed to the fault. But if I drive in conditions others class as dangerous, you're saying I'm not?
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,473
    Phfft!
    I go out of my way to find such roads for fun. This means that I know how to drive when it does hit.
    Unused car parks should be set up by the police in these conditions specifically so people can practice.
    A photo taken by my wife from the passenger seat while I was driving this road purely for fun.
    PS:- This is in an estate car, not some Chelsea tractor.
    snow-1_zps31618d37.jpg
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
    Pross wrote:
    there's nothing stopping residents clearing 'their' patch on residential streets.

    Too right. I've just spent 2 hours outside clearing the pavement and the paths of the elderly neighbours either side. Only intended to do the area just outside ours but I got right into it and ended up clearing a path 200m long down to the main road! Quite a good work out and a nice way to meet the neighbours and passers by, who all seemed very grateful as I live on a hill and it does becomes treacherous. Now where's that smug emoticon?
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,994
    The answer - obviously - is yes, but my real question I suppose is: why?

    If the conditions are dangerous - and statistics will surely back me up when I claim that it's more dangerous to drive in snow/ice than in normal conditions - why should other drivers have to pay (via increased premiums) for other drives who somehow think they are capable of driving in conditions which are beyond them?

    Surely if you choose to drive in icy/snow/dangerous conditions - and you have an accident - there should be some concept of contributory negligence?

    Yes - there is a concept of contributory negligence - it's a hit on your no claims discount. Same as if you have an at fault accident in any other cirucmstance.

    And you need to be careful about the concept of 'not wanting to pay for others incompetence' - obviously, those people do pay higher premiums in the end but there does need to be a balance. Apart from anything else, the average driver might find himself actually having to pay more if the incompetent were penalised more heavily - because, logically, the careful, low car user ought to pay still less under the circumstances. There needs to be some degree of cross subsidisation

    I pay 10% of the value of my car per year to insure it and I barely do more than 2-3000 miles in it. And most of that at the weekend. I wouldn't pay more than a few quid extra if I drove it 3 or four times further. For the risk the insurer is taking they get a damn good deal out of me.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Jez monJez mon Posts: 3,809
    Its just a matter of driving to the conditions. Drove to a friends halls of residence last night, just drove slowly and sensibly just leave plenty of extra braking room, be careful about setting off (2nd gear may help you get traction if you're really struggling) and don't make any sharp steering movements.

    Have to say, I've seen a lot of traffic go up the road driving in an inappropriate manner, it's slushy and icey, your tyres aren't getting as much traction, just take your time.
    You live and learn. At any rate, you live
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,313
    That's not what I was saying.

    In fact, I specifically said that I understand people might need to get to work.

    No, you said you understood that self-employed people might need to get to work
    *I get that some people are self-employed and have to get to work, but most of the prangs we saw were just people at home who thought they'd try driving, who weren't self-employed.

    That is why I queried why it shouldn't apply to those who aren't self-employed.
    Going back to my original question - if you crash your car when driving in dangerous driving conditions - where an organisation like the Met Office issues a weather warning and the Highways Agency says 'don't drive if don't need to' - are you fully insured? Or does it affect your liability/fault in some other way?

    Who determines if you 'need to' though? If I'm driving to work in an office do I need to? If I need to get some food from the local supermarket because the cupboards are bare do I need to? If I need to get out into the sticks to make sure the horses have got food do I need to? Those warnings are always ridiculous as different people will have a different opinion as to what is essential. Also, as someone else points out, insurance companies pay out for at fault accidents all the time - the payback is that your premiums go up as a result of claiming.
  • MonkeypumpMonkeypump Posts: 1,528
    The insurance companies will no doubt have some sort of algorithm to calculate risk in snow vs. risk elsewhere, but to assume it's black and white is naive. Driving in rain IS (more) dangerous compared to dry, well-lit roads - contrary to what you think.

    And as said above, drivers just need to account for conditions. Not taking adequate measures in snow equates to negligence, but driving appropriately (and being able to demonstrate this) should avoid being held accountable in cases of accidents.

    Commone sense should prevail, but from what I've seen over the last few days it's obviously in short supply!
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,994
    Pross wrote:
    Who determines if you 'need to' though? If I'm driving to work in an office do I need to? If I need to get some food from the local supermarket because the cupboards are bare do I need to? If I need to get out into the sticks to make sure the horses have got food do I need to? Those warnings are always ridiculous as different people will have a different opinion as to what is essential. Also, as someone else points out, insurance companies pay out for at fault accidents all the time - the payback is that your premiums go up as a result of claiming.

    I live in a semi suburban village on the edge of Leeds - about 7 miles from the city centre. I rode in today as I ride in every other day. Most people where I live would regard the distance as uncycleably far even in normal conditions. Clearly lots of them today stayed at home but others took the car all the same. I just don't take the car out at all in these conditions. I'm pretty sure if I ticked the commuting box on my car insurance forms the price would go up by all of £10 yet the only claims I've made in years have been either commuting or driving for work (mind, the last of those was 13 years ago). In this case, I am clearly subsidising commuters.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • I'd love to be able to stay at home tommorow cause of weather but:
    the place I work is open,
    I am expected to be in,
    people depend on my being there to get their jobs done,
    its 42 miles by the quickest back roads so there's no way I am cycling

    so I will drive in (carefully) cause I have to earn a living = the real world for an ordinary working guy
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,473
    .....so I will drive in (carefully) cause I have to earn a living = the real world for an ordinary working guy
    33 1/2 years working. Never missed day due to the weather.
    Ordinary working guy.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • The MechanicThe Mechanic Posts: 1,277
    Half the problems cause by snow are due to having inappropriate tyres on the car. If everyone used proper winter tyres then there would be far less problems on the road , even when it snows. The difference in driving in winter conditions with proper winter tyres is a revellation. How do you think they manage in Scandinavia?
    I have only two things to say to that; Bo***cks
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,994
    Half the problems cause by snow are due to having inappropriate tyres on the car. If everyone used proper winter tyres then there would be far less problems on the road , even when it snows. The difference in driving in winter conditions with proper winter tyres is a revellation. How do you think they manage in Scandinavia?

    It's cold and snow covered all through winter in Scandinavia. Here it normally snows twice and thaws the following day. It's a much less clear cut decision here as to whether someone actually needs winter tyres. The likelihood of me needing to take the car out in these conditions is minimal. That said, last time I commuted to work in a morning when the snow had settled on the road up the hill, I followed a Landrover. Nobody else seemed to be getting anywhere and I was in an ordinary FWD car with summer tyres. I think the problems are not solely necessarily having the wrong tyres but carrying on driving like it is summer when it isn't.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    I get that some people are self-employed and have to get to work, but most of the prangs we saw were just people at home who thought they'd try driving, who weren't self-employed.
    And
    However, of the prangs I saw - and those still attending to their cars - none of them appeared to be people 'going to work'.
    How do you know? Did you ask everyone why they were out? Who's to say what is & isn't a good reason to be out in the car? Maybe they were on the way back home having been elsewhere when it turned from cold & miserable to unsafe to drive. Maybe they were on the way to / back from visiting elderly relatives to make sure they were ok. Shopping maybe? Who knows?

    Davisee has it right - when it snows, go out and play in it. Take the kids along for the ride if you can. That way you get to practice not being housebound due to an inch of snow, and you show the next generation by example that everything doesn't come to a stop because of a bit of weather. And they enjoy seeing the next junction approach via the passenger windows, too. H/brake = fun lever in our world.
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,313
    Half the problems cause by snow are due to having inappropriate tyres on the car. If everyone used proper winter tyres then there would be far less problems on the road , even when it snows. The difference in driving in winter conditions with proper winter tyres is a revellation. How do you think they manage in Scandinavia?

    They also have garages that store whichever seasons tyres aren't in use. It's not really practical over here for the reasons Rolf has stated and anyone who has experience of getting worn tyres replaced by a lease company will be able to tell you their response if you requested a set of winter tyres!
  • Garry HGarry H Posts: 6,639
    Half the problems cause by snow are due to having inappropriate tyres on the car. If everyone used proper winter tyres then there would be far less problems on the road , even when it snows. The difference in driving in winter conditions with proper winter tyres is a revellation. How do you think they manage in Scandinavia?

    Nah, the t*ats would just drive quicker over here!
  • alan_aalan_a Posts: 1,376
    When the clocks go back I put on my winter tyres, when they go forward I put on my "normal" tyres.

    Winter tyres (with snow symbol) are much much more effective, better grip, better braking & more fuel efficient than summer or 3 season tyres whenever the temperature is below 11c. It does not have to be snowy or icy.

    I live on a hill and I've never been stuck with my Toyota Avensis estate, whereas all my neighbours are without fail.

    For those that know the Schiehallion climb on the etape caledonia - I've driven up it with over a foot of snow on the road.

    Oh... and whilst your driving on your winter tyres you'll be smug in the knowledge that you are saving your 3 season tyres from excessive wear because the softer rubber of winter tyres wears slower than 3 season tyres.

    Full discussion on benefit of winter tyres here http://www.winterhighland.info/forum/read.php?2,125862
  • schweizschweiz Posts: 1,644
    Here in Switzerland, unlike in Germany, there is no law that winter tyres have to be fitted. However everyone* does fit winter tyres and they all* have a tread depth above 4 mm whilst legal minimum is 1.6 mm.

    Why? Because of the insurance companies. The lovely people at Touring Club Suisse (TCS) and Automobil Club Suisse (ACS) which are the Swiss AA and RAC have done some research that shows that winter tyres have improved traction on tarmac without snow below 7°C (iirc) and that in snowy conditions, less than 4 mm of tread with winter tyres doesn't give enough traction. The insurance companies have latched onto this and if the accident could be attributed to not having winter tyres then the payout is reduced accordingly.

    Most people carry chains too, especially if they know they'll have to go over a pass, or in my case, I have a particularly light, wide tyred, rear wheel drive car that is about as suited to snow as Vicky P's track bike! There's even a set of chains in the back of the wife's Impreza should things get really bad.

    The thing that gets me is people wearing out Winter tyres in the Summer seems not to be an issue with the insurance companies although they are not as good on hot days as Summer tyres!



    *OK, there's probably some people that don't bother!
  • twist83twist83 Posts: 761
    I must admit having Winter tyres if you can store spare wheels is a god send.

    I recently bought an M3 and have spare wheels which I fitted Winter tyres on. They are now on the car and like has been said even with a BMW make for a driveable car.

    The look on peoples faces when they see an M3 Burble past them up hill when they cannot is priceless. Only thing is the throttle response is a little sharp when it gets very slippy.
  • schweizschweiz Posts: 1,644
    I have a Z4 and a few years back I was over in the UK and drove down a snow covered (< 2 cm) M4 at 50-60 mph with no problem at all whilst all the cars I was overtaking were flashing their lights or giving me 'hand signals'
  • y33stuy33stu Posts: 376
    Some people simply need to learn how to drive in the snow. My Mrs being one of them. Don't get me wrong, I've wrapped my car into a lamppost in the snow through no fault of my own. But some people are simply shocking drivers once the snow starts. Overcompensating, braking when they shouldn't, leaving too much of a gap, not enough of a gap etc.. Can't control a skid. Better training for snow driving would be useful.
    Cycling prints
    Band of Climbers
  • WidgeyWidgey Posts: 157
    If you havent got room for Winter tyres, why not try snow socks..
  • schweizschweiz Posts: 1,644
    Widgey wrote:
    If you havent got room for Winter tyres, why not try snow socks..

    'cos they're [email protected] as soon as you get on a hill. I've seen plenty of (mainly Dutch) tourists try and fail to drive over a pass with them.

    My chains cost less than £100. I can get them on in less than 5 minutes.
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,313
    Stupid question but with chains do you have to remove them when driving on cleared roads? If so they aren't much use over here where completely covered roads are very rare. Also, do they damage tyres? I did think of getting some as I have to get up into country lanes early in the morning which can be a struggle on roads that haven't been trafficked as the snow falls. The 4x4 has always managed so far but it would be useful to be able to do it in a normal car instead of the gas guzzler!
  • alan_aalan_a Posts: 1,376
    Pross wrote:
    Stupid question but with chains do you have to remove them when driving on cleared roads?

    Yes you do. Chains are for emergencies when stuck or driving on roads with deep snow cover.

    Michelin do excellent non metallic chains that are easy peasy to get on and do not damage anything.

    http://youtu.be/Nih-ZrCgazw
  • schweizschweiz Posts: 1,644
    Alan A wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    Stupid question but with chains do you have to remove them when driving on cleared roads?

    Yes you do. Chains are for emergencies when stuck or driving on roads with deep snow cover.

    Michelin do excellent non metallic chains that are easy peasy to get on and do not damage anything.

    http://youtu.be/Nih-ZrCgazw

    They get a bit noisy but I always drive a couple of km further on from the end of the snow just to be sure. It certainly doesn't damage the chains. The only times I've snapped a link are when starting with just mounted chains on tarmac as the torque is too great when compared to snow. The buses round these parts will quite happily drive on cleared roads if they need them when they get up in them there hills as their chains take a little more effort and time to put on. You shouldn't go faster than 50 km/h 'they' say with chains but I've done 70-80.
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,313
    Isn't it a bit dodgy trying to fit chains to a car when it's on a slippery, snow covered slope though? When I've had to stop on slopes before now the car slides back even with the handbrake on.
  • schweizschweiz Posts: 1,644
    Never experienced that. Both times I've used my chains this year were in 7-8% slopes where a lorry had stopped and I was forced to stop too. I just couldn't get started again with my now 3 winter old, winter tyres. I would imagine that the road would have to much steeper or covered in sheet ice before the car slipped.
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